Leif Edling is an innovator. Leif Edling is a metal musician. Leif Edling is a genius. Leif was responsible for the birth of Doom Metal. He created Candlemass, a band who took the essence of Black Sabbath, de-tuned it by two steps, slowed the speed by four and turned it into a whole new genre. He has poured his heart and soul into this band and along the way has become ill, created a number of other projects, and is now the central creative force of The Doomsday Kingdom. Over the last few years, Leif has been unwell, as mentioned, but as he recovered he was penning songs and creating a whole new sound in Doomsday Kingdom. As the band releases their debut album through Nuclear Blast I caught up with Leif to explore the project and his career.
Firstly, congratulations on Doomsday Kingdom. For me, DK has a real Black Sabbath Dehumanizer sound to it, but what was your focus around the initial stages of this project and the writing?
“It was, I was really influenced by early metal actually. The New Wave of British Heavy Metal and early DIO, Ozzy, Accept and Venom records, stuff like that. I rediscovered this when I was sick and I hit the wall a few years ago. And I went in my basement and dug out my old vinyl records and I thought that I needed to do something like this. I love the Dehumanizer album but for me this record is a homage for me, and to my upbringing.”
I have read a lot about your collaboration with Marcus Jidell with Doomsday Kingdom but what do you believe he has brought to the project musically both in sound and writing?
“Well I wrote everything myself, but when I had energy and a good day. I took a bus over to his little studio, when I could, it’s not too far away from here and we worked on the ideas I had. Marcus has a great ear for music and he has always been a great guitar player, and he makes riffs so much better than what I had. He is a master on guitar and he brought my ideas and put them on tape and turned them into songs and built the concepts. So, umm, this is what Marcus brought, he is a great producer and he can make a song sound really good and he has great facilities.”
There has been a lot in the metal media about how you have been unwell, but can you please talk us through it first hand?
“I guess it was just me being a total workaholic that brought me forward to everything that happened. I was working around the clock seven days a week and no breaks or vacation. I worked from the second I woke up and till I slept. And this was a roller-coaster for so many years. It was my way of living it was all I knew. After a while I started to feel a lot of stress and burn out and Sweden is the new Tokyo and we are working too much, it is not good. I hit the roof and my heart was speeding like crazy and I went to the doctors and I have been on medicine. I was collapsing and not coping with anything. I actually was thinking around this project at this time. It has been a long process and I have been totally burnt out for three years and this has taken me years to make this record and now it is a band”
Is Doomsday Kingdom a studio project or is this a band?
“Yes absolutely, this is a band, it turned out so much better than I thought. I was sick and I had no idea where to take it or what to do but in the end it sounded really really good, and several big labels got in touch and so it turned out so much better than I hoped and we are excited to go out a play. Our first gig is a few weeks in time and we are very excited and other opportunities are in the pipeline”
What is the plan for Doomsday Kingdom, do you have a road map or is the concept still forming?
“I mean I still have to take it a bit careful this year and then I will evaluate my health with the doctors. Everything is great at this time but I am still building and starting to feel better. I will have to see but I have to be careful and see how we go this year. I would like to do one hundred gigs next year and I would love to make another album next year. I am definitely trying to build something really good and we are all enthusiastic about it.”
Let’s focus on Candlemass, can you talk me through how the sound and direction came about?
“We tried to be as heavy as we could. We are huge Black Sabbath fans and nobody wanted to be as heavy as Sabbath and to play these slow songs. Everything was focused more on a more commercial style of rock in Sweden at this time. A lot of bands sounded like UFO and AC/DC and we were the only ones who liked this music and the new wave of British Heavy Metal and that is how we started out. We didn’t want to try and rip Sabbath off but we wanted to develop that sound. We were huge Iron Maiden, Pentagram, Motorhead and we mixed it all together and we came up with the sound that we had.”
Did you realise the power of this music and the sound when you were initially forming the band and writing songs for Epicus Doomicus Metallicus?
“We just played, we had no value about anything. We couldn’t even dream of a record deal as no bands from Sweden got overseas deals. We just did what we wanted to do and people slagged us off. But we were lucky that we survived and that we could make a record. The next deal we got came from nowhere, I don’t know but it came from a foreign label and it came together through a girl who lived in Stockholm and we met her boyfriend and so we had luck. Luck always comes in to it you know.”
Looking back on your career in Candlemass what sticks in your mind as your best achievement?
“It is a thirty-year career and there has been so many ups and downs and this is hard to list. Picking the package up from the post office with the debut album in it was amazing. I was sweating and I could hardly pick it up. We got ten copies and this was an amazing feeling. A couple of mates came and we all couldn’t believe it. But the breakthrough gig at the Dynamo a year later with the release of Nightfall was also amazing. There are many of them. It was great coming to Japan last year and you know I only played two songs, as I was unwell, but it was excellent to be there. The first reunion album with Messiah in 2002 was amazing and there is so much more. I am proud of what we have done.”
Abstract Algebra and Krux are two of your projects that really impressed me, and even after my first listen to these releases I felt that both projects were beyond their time and genre. What do they mean to you, or what was the purpose of these projects?
“Abstract Algebra was definitely a project and I don’t think we ever considered it to be a band, but I love this album and we tried to be a bit progressive and I was very influenced in doing a heavy progressive metal album. I still love it. It sold nothing. It came at the wrong time, it is a great record, something was wrong at the time it was so untrendy.”
“Krux, we did a few gigs and we did two great records it is raw and dark and really rough. I love this very much and it was done with a cool bunch of guys and we had a lot of fun. We didn’t have a clue, or a sound, and no pressure, we just went for it and we loved this time. The final record was not what it should be and we had outside circumstances that effected it, so I’m not too happy overall with it.”
Is there any possibility of a tour to Australia with Doomsday Kingdom?
“I hope so, the record is out tomorrow and I haven’t heard much from Australia but I think it is a little bit too early and for this year, I will be a bit slow. But hopefully next year I can book tours and gig as much as possible. I wouldn’t be surprised if during this year we develop and build our profile and get a lot of suggestions come for tours, and Australia in conjunction with Japan would be incredible.”
Leif Edling is a very complex and intelligent individual, it was a pleasure to speak with him today. He is an individual who not only created a genre of metal but a man who is an extremely talented and engaging artist. I sincerely hope that one day he will grace our shores and play a series of shows in Australia. Check out Doomsday Kingdom, if you are a metal fan, or a fan of music, you won’t be disappointed.
Interview by Mark Snedden
The Doomsday Kingdom – The Doomsday Kingdom Tracklisting
- Silent Kingdom
- The Never Machine
- A Spoonful Of Darkness
- See You Tomorrow
- The Sceptre
- Hand Of Hell
- The Silence
- The God Particle
Album Out Now via Nuclear Blast. Get your copy here